- Paperback: 284 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 4, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1535036575
- ISBN-13: 978-1535036573
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 730 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Neighbor Dearest Paperback – August 4, 2016
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About the Author
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor before switching to a more family-friendly career. Penelope lives for reading books in the new adult/contemporary romance genre, coffee and hanging out with her friends and family on weekends. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy, both of whom are the lights of her life. Penelope, her husband and kids reside in Rhode Island. She is the author of RoomHate which hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Other New York Times bestsellers include Stepbrother Dearest, Cocky Bastard and Stuck-Up Suit (the latter two co-written with Vi Keeland). She is also the author of Sins of Sevin, My Skylar, Jake Undone, Jake Understood and Gemini. Email Penelope at: firstname.lastname@example.org Newsletter Signup: http://bit.ly/1X725rj Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/penelopewardauthor Facebook Fan Group (Request to join!) https://www.facebook.com/groups/PenelopesPeeps/ Instagram: https://instagram.com/PenelopeWardAuthor Twitter: https://twitter.com/PenelopeAuthor Website: www.penelopewardauthor.com
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The first half of Neighbor Dearest is pretty great. Chelsea Jameson (previously seen in Ward’s Stepbrother Dearest) is still suffering over the loss of her longtime boyfriend, Elec. While it has been nearly a year since the breakup, Chelsea is still in counseling and seems unable to move beyond her heartbreak. Enter Damian Hennessey, hot neighbor landlord and tortured artist. While Damian is initially pretty nasty to Chelsea, the two eventually become friends. The build up to their relationship is done really well and I loved the scenes with Chelsea and the dogs as well as Chelsea’s job at the youth center. Damien and Chelsea’s first kiss is beautifully done and their chemistry is off the charts.
A few spoilerish thoughts ahead.
I continued to enjoy the book through Chelsea’s decision to move out of the apartment and I thought Damien’s declaration in front of her parents was stunning, even if the author didn’t let us know how they reacted. When Damien’s reason for his fear of commitment is revealed I felt for him and understood his thinking. When the pair finally got together I was cheering, the book should have probably ended soon afterwards but it was only 60% through.
So here’s where it fell apart for me. For the next 25% or so of the book Chelsea and Damien mostly have sex. Lots of dirty sex, almost public sex, gas station bathroom sex (yuck!), and I found it all more about the sex than the romance. A lot of romance books have this problem, the characters get together and the romance is replaced by just sex. I’m all for sex in romance books but it should be romantic, at least some of the time.
There were some other issues I had with Neighbor Dearest. At the beginning of the book Chelsea has this wonderful career and these wonderful relationships with the kids she works with, and then half way through the story we never hear about them again. The storyline with Ariel and Kai seems to be dropped abruptly and we never learn what happens to them. I thought the Pandora’s Box scene was also unfinished. Who puts a sex tape and other stuff in a box under their bed, labels it “Pandora’s Box” but insists it really doesn’t have any meaning? Seemed odd to me. Also, Damien does a lot of physical exertion for a person with a serious heart condition. Knocking down walls and moving Chelsea’s furniture when you’re worried about sudden cardiac arrest? Nope.
The last section of the story picks back up again and I did like the conclusion between Damien and Elec. One of the highlights of the book for me were the stepsister jokes that Damien and Chelsea make about Elec. Most readers seem to really enjoy Neighbor Dearest, so maybe it’s just me!
Damien is absolutely wonderful, a true alpha male, even though he is hiding a huge secret he is totally up front and honest with Chelsey which she deserves and needs after Elec who withheld a lot from her. Anyone who has ever had their heart broken so completely understands Chelsea. She is just trying to understand how she could have been so wrong about Elec. She just wants to understand how everything fell apart so quickly so that she doesn't start second guessing her judgment. Chelsea is sweet, honest, hardworking, funny, and loving. So it is only right that she finds her perfect other half in Damein. He ends up being perfect for her but finding their way together is not an easy road.
There are two secondary charcters that I would love to read more about, Chelsea's little sister Jade and Damein's identical younger brother Tyler, both actors. There were fireworks at their first and only meeting, even though Tyler was in a one year relationship with a nice girl. There has to be more to their story.
And finally, the epilogue was brilliant. Please don't read before the end because it is a perfect ending to this story. I promise you will love it and fall in love with these characters.